Four people, who illegally entered an open cast mine — which was not in operation— and were feared trapped, excavated a route through the structure to return to safety in Bokaro early on Monday morning, officials said.
They were trapped for at least 30 hours.
All four, residents of Tilataand village of Chandankyari block, on Saturday entered the mine through one of the entrances that collapsed and trapped them, police said.
Administration officials, police personnel, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) mining officials were deployed to rescue the four but did not make headway. The mine is owned by BCCL.
Around 3:30 am on Monday, the police were informed that the four men had managed to come out of the mine on their own and safely returned home.
They were identified as Laxman Rajwar (42), Anadi Singh (45), Ravana Rajwar (46) and Bharat Singh (45).
Police said that they had received a call on Saturday that the four people were trapped inside the mine.
Mithu Singh, a villager, said: “The entire village was saddened and there was little hope. Suddenly we saw them in our village. They told us how they came back on thier own. It is nothing, but god’s grace that they are back.”
“We received information that a coal mine which is not operational since 2008. There is no human activity, however, some people get inside illegally to get coal. But it is not safe. So when these four people went inside with their equipment and a torch, the area caved in. They came out miraculously…” said Subodh Kumar, Chandankyari area’s Adilabad Outpost In-charge Sub Inspector.
NDRF Inspector rank Team Commander Virendra Rathore too said it was a surprise that the four managed to come out safely on their own. “Imagine a 14-floor building which has collapsed and there was the same situation out there. We could not do anything on Sunday and decided that we will start work Monday morning. All of sudden in the morning, I received information that only four people who had gone had come out,” he told The Indian Express.
The administration said they are not considering any action against the four men for now. They sustained minor injuries.